Tuesday 4 August 2020

Olympus Underwhelms Again

Nature in Miniature
Fuji X-T2, Neewer (7Artisans) 25mm f1.8

Olympus had two announcements today, the E-M10 Mark IV and a 100-400 f5-6.3 IS.

Surprisingly, the 100-400 IS will ship in early September. I was not expecting that and this lens should appeal to quite a number of m43 folks looking for a lightweight supertele option that is fully compatible with the advanced focusing features of the 20MP PDAF bodies. It's a little pricey at $1500USD, but no doubt will see discounts fairly quickly. I'd expect it will be hard to get for a while, as this is the perfect match to the 12-100/4 Pro for a lot of backpackers. Say what you will about the bodies, but Olympus is now 2 for 2 on interesting lenses in 2020 with the 12-45/4 (after a 2 year dead zone in 2018 & 2019, where they announced 2 lenses and delivered only one of them, a thoroughly uninteresting consumer ridicuzoom, we're still waiting for the 150-400/4.5 that I frankly never expect to see released at this point)

On the body side Olympus managed to undershoot my already low expectations. I'd expected it to be nothing more than the 20MP sensor and processing stuffed into an E-M10 III body. Olympus delivered that, but they used the Pen-F variant of the sensor without PDAF rather than the PDAF variant that's used in all their current 20MP bodies, so despite the speed boost (up 1.5fps to a still-low 6.3fps) and gaining face/eye detection it remains utterly worthless for continuous advance or movie AF. It also got a Nikon Z50 style extended articulation of the LCD so you could use it for hand-held selfies, but not any where you are using camera support. On the plus side, it has a very reasonable 360 shot CIPA rating for LCD use, that's better than average for a class where sub-300 shots is not unheard of.

The pricing would have been alright if the body had been what I'd originally expected, coming in at the same pricing as the X-T200 ($699USD body-only, $799 with 14-42 EZ kit lens). But without PDAF this is a $500 stripper body in this market, with performance on par with the Fuji X-T100 and Sony A6000 and as such it's about $200USD overpriced for what it is.

Verdict? Don't buy at list, if you really want it wait for the fire sale in 3 months. Or better yet, get the E-M5III when it hits fire sale territory as it's just a massively better body in all regards, even at its current wildly overpriced state.

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